Hargrove to run for reelection in the fall | 47th Legislative District

Rep. Mark Hargrove, R-Covington, has announced that he will run for reelection for the 47th Legislative District.

Hargrove said his reasons for running are the same as when he ran for his first term.

“I ran because I think we needed better representation,” he said. “As I’ve been in the legislature I’ve seen how one party control has affected our state. That’s why we’re in the budget mess we’re in.”

Hargrove, an Air Force veteran and Boeing instructor pilot, was first elected in November 2010 when he ran against Geoff Simpson, a Democrat who had served in the House for 10 years.

Hargrove blames the repeated special sessions of the state Legislature on Democrats, who are the majority party in both the House and Senate, as  well as the governor. He said he expects that to change this coming election.

“It’s hard for them in this impasse in the budget because they’ve controlled (the Legislature) for so long,” he said. “It’s hard for them to negotiate on the budget. I think we’re going to make a correction this fall and do something about that party control, and I want to be a part of that.”

He added that bipartisanship is possible, citing two bills he cosponsored which garnered support from both parties. One was the Innovation School bill, HB 1546, which was passed on March 7, 2011. The other bill was HB 2244, which limits the liability for private airstrip owners. It was signed by Gov. Christine Gregoire on March 8.

“I was able to get bipartisan support and make it happen,” he said. “I was happy to work in the system with the majority party and make things happen.”

With the budget crisis, however, he said that the gridlock is due to conflicting attitudes on the role of the state government.

“Our caucus spent a significant amount of time in December and early January talking about what the priorities of government are,” he said. “In our current system we’ve got this broad spread array of things we’re doing. We’ve proved those things are not sustainable in the last eight years. Our caucus developed a budget based on the priorities of government. We’re much better in focusing on what government can and can’t do and that’s all going to contribute to getting our economy going and getting the jobs going.”

Hargrove is being challenged by Kent firefighter and former Covington City Council member Bud Sizemore, who stated that partisanship has prevented the budget from being passed. Hargrove said he agrees but for different reasons.

While Sizemore critiqued the decision by three Senate Democrats to vote with the Senate Republican budget, Hargrove said it’s an indication of how divided the Democrats are within their own party.

“I think the reason we’re where we are is because one party has been used to being in control for so long,” he said. “A couple of Senate Democrats realized the budget that was being proposed was not sustainable. It was not a good way to proceed. They said, ‘Hey we need to get something going and we need something that’s responsible and sustainable.’”

Hargrove is looking forward to campaigning against Sizemore.

“In a democracy we need a different opinion so that people can make a choice,” he said. “I hope we can really have open discussion on the issues and the people will choose who they are in agreement with on the issues. But I think it’s healthy for our district to have folks out there with differing views.”


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